Basic Fish Stocks

Ken Jones

Staff member
The following comes from a seafood cookbook I bought many years ago — From Sea to Shining Sea — The Great American Seafood Cookbook by Susan Hermann Loomis. The book has many outstanding recipes but many are a little complicated or call for items not always easily accessible. However, she makes a point that many recipes call for the use of fish stock and that you should always have some on hand. She suggests to make the stock and then keep it in the freezer. She says "I freeze about 2 cups in ice cube trays then pop the cubes out of the trays and put them in freezer bags or containers. That way I can pull out a cube or two to add to a sauce or liven up a soup. (Each cube is approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of stock. I measure the remaining stock and freeze it in 1- and 2-cup lots so I always know what I have."

Basic Fish Stock


• 2 pounds bones from white fish (such as rockfish, bass, lingcod, cabezon)
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsly chopped
* 1 large onion
• Leaves of 2 celery ribs
• 1 bunch parsley stems
• 1 sprig fresh thyme
• 12 peppercorns
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 10 cups water


• Rinse the fish bones well under cold running water until the water runs clear.
• Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the vegetables and stir to coat with butter.
• Add 10 cups of water, the herbs, spices, and fish bones; bring to a boil.
• Reduce the heat to low. Simmer the stock for 18 minutes skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.
• Remove the stock from the heat.
• Strain, discarding the solids.
• When the stock is cool, either refrigerate or freeze.

From the same book, From Sea to Shining Sea — The Great American Seafood Cookbook, comes a stock that uses the bones of a whole salmon. It can be used both in soups and sauces.

Salmon Stock


• 1 1/2 pounds salmon bones and heads
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 1/2 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 3 parsley stems
• 5 peppercorns


* Rinse the fish bones under cold running water.
• Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the carrot and onion and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
• Stir in the remaining ingredients and 6 cups water. Add the fish bones. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium so the water continues to boil gently, and cook for 18 minutes (no longer), skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.
• Strain the stock. Let cool and use as a base for soups and sauces.
Remove any salmon still on the bones and use in a salad, soup or spread for crackers.